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Orchids: The Elite Flower Open Access

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The purpose of this proposed thesis is to demonstrate how the extraordinary examples of orchid jewelry made for the elite by top designers between 1889-1925 reflected the particular mores and culture of the upper class in England and America and to argue that the jeweled orchid designs were directly influenced by an increase in the study of botany between1820-1850 due to heightened scientific research, international exploration, and trade. This proposed thesis is also intended to explore the acceptance of unusual materials for personal adornment, the sexual overtones in which orchids imply, and the recognition of skill and artistry of jewelers by their passionate patrons. My hope is to explore how various developments of the period impacted the orchid in jewelry during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

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